Posts Tagged ‘Barcelona’

Lux – New Day EP

A ferocious EP from Barcelona’s Lux hits like a giddy hammer to the head. Over these four tracks the band barely takes a breath, forging a formidable punk gauntlet that tears at the listener from all sides. Spain’s been having a pretty admirable punk resurgence and this fits right in alongside Moan or Rata Negra. The EP rumbles into view with the suburban assault of “Action,” the band’s riot underpinned by the sonic slap of vocals that never let the listener off of the hook. The whole thing’s over in six minutes but not an ounce of sweat is spared over the four tracks. It’s cold out there, so maybe this is the best way to melt the ice and march on through the rest of these sun-forsaken months. Lux know just what you’re looking for and bring int 4x harder and faster than the rest. Recommended on repeat.

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Mourn

With the pall of their label skirmishes firmly behind them, Spanish punks Mourn push their sound bigger and harder for their third album, Sopresa Familia. The band processes punk and post-punk, grunge and gloom into a record that fully embraces guitar rock in an age when being a young guitar band has lost its gloss. They scratch through the tracks on the LP with an intensity and vigor that’s matched only by the breadth of their touchstones, flinging the dark rumble of The Sound and The Church through the grit and gravel of Husker Du. They pull their vision of pop across the same scarred stones that produced the flayed bare honesty of PJ Harvey. Like many of the best bands of their generation, they’ve taken the advantage of having deep wells of music available at their whims and used it to build a sound that doesn’t draw divisions, instead they collage eras with ease.

The band can curl up into some tender moments over the course of Sopresa Familia, but they wind up at their best when the hurricane crunch of guitar is at a full tilt and looking to level. They’ve built a record on the edge, and given their past frustrations with the music industry, its not hard to see how this could wind up a record fueled by angst and restlessness. From the firecracker snap of “Barcelona City Tour” – which reminds me in a very good way of Afrirampo – to the slow simmer ‘n blow of “Strange Ones,” this is a record that’s not content to keep a poker face. The album bubbles over with fury, joy, frustration and relief. Its no time to keep a lid on the pot, Mourn remind us that catharsis is not just an indulgence, it’s a right.




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Màquina Total

Barcelona has begun creeping up in its own right as a center for new talent lately. While I’ve dug in on the garage side mostly, there are certainly endless eddies of pop that run through the town, making noise that’s worthy of radar space. Barcelona-bred musician Virgili Jubero has been working under the Màquina Total name since 2011, but it wasn’t until he came into contact with local label Domestica Records that he wandered into my view. Working in a vein of synth pop that flirts with coldwave and winks at darkwave, Jubero has a feel for synths that are buried just under the horizon line of pop. That’s not to say that there isn’t something captivating or even catchy about the work on Estàtua, but he’s found a way into emotional ’80s soundtrack territory that consumes smudged eyeliner and rain like it was vital sustenance.

This album, which arrives as Màquina Total’s debut long player proper, collects some older tracks and new recordings to bring forth the freshest version of the band to date. The label is not entirely off base when name checking Human League or Spandau Ballet, but shave off a layer of sheen, spin the low end wide open and let the whole thing underscore a lost John Hughes cut of teenage longing and you’re starting to get close to the nerve here. I think perhaps it’s Jubero’s reserve that stands out the most on the album. Where he could easily have spent time fleshing out these tracks into stacked slices of synthpop that wander into the waters of a poor man’s offering of long gone ’80s hits, instead he lets the ghosts of the FM dial haunt his tracks like a taste on the tongue that’s hard to place. What’s left is breath on the air and a warm buzz that hits between the eardrums and the hairs on the back of your neck.




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